By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
WACO - All-Star contests aren't like your normal games.
Not when pitchers throw just one inning. Not when everyone has an at-bat.
In an unorthodox game, it was almost fitting the Central Texas Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Classic included a big early lead by the Dark team only to see the White team chip away late, rallying for a 7-6 win at Baylor Ballpark.
"We were hoping for it," Gatesville's Thomas Weber said of the rally. "Once we started rolling, it just started clicking and we scored some."
White trailed 6-1 through five innings before scoring two runs in three straight innings, finally overtaking the Dark team in the eighth of the nine-inning contest.
Belton's Cooper Smith tied the game with a groundout that trickled down the third-base line. Runners were on third and second base, and after Smith was thrown out at first base, Troy's Jordan Mattke, who reached on a dropped third strike, beat the relay back to the plate.
"Honestly, I was hoping it would go foul because I wanted to rip one," Smith said. "But it was an RBI and it helped out the team."
Temple's Nich Crosswhite followed with a single just over the infield, scoring Roger's Gregory Mendoza (single) to put the Dark down by one.
Forgotten in the White team's rally was its shaky first inning behind Belton ace Dillon Newman, who faced Class 5A competition all season. But it wasn't 5A hitters who got to Newman, but instead batters from 3A Lorena and Clifton.
Mistakes put runners on, but Lorena's Dailon Olivarez doubled home two runs and Clifton's Dalton Vanatta singled Olivarez around to push the Dark team out to a lead it wouldn't surrender until the eighth.
"We had some routine errors, but I can't help it," said Newman, who struck out two in the inning. "(Vanatta) is on my summer team. I knew he was a pretty good hitter."
It wasn't all bad for the future Bear - Newman hit a first-inning sacrifice fly to put the White team ahead early.
Belton's Shane Hoelscher, playing for the Dark team before head to Rice University next season, scored in the fourth inning after hitting a two-out double off Weber. Hoelscher had two doubles, while Weber had the game's first hit.
Killeen High's Anthony Jenkins, who is headed to play football at Angelo State University, scored the Dark team's first run and later doubled in the Dark team's second run in the fifth.
"I appreciated the opportunity to play one more game," said Jenkins. "Hopefully at Angelo, I'll be able to play one too."
Dark beat White, 8-7, in Juniors' game
With a combined 15 walks, it shouldn't have surprised many the Junior All-Star Game ended on a wild pitch.
Michael Martin of China Spring singled to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and came around on a pitch thrown in the dirt by Salado's Clint Scarborough, giving the Dark team an 8-7 victory. Martin stole second base and reached third on a Tyler Hoelscher infield single.
The White team tied the game in the seventh, as Salado's Paul Warren singled and went to second base on a wild pitch. Ryan Smith from Waco Midway followed with a single to score Warren.
Five of the 11 Killeen-area players recorded hits. Killeen High's Ryan Jones scored a run for the White team and finished with a pair of stolen bases as well.
Belton's Tyler Vail started for the White, striking out five of the 10 batters he faced in two innings.
Contact Angel Verdejo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7564.